A brief history of Laurentian Chapter

IODE Laurentian Chapter is one of 140 Primary Chapters of IODE Canada and one of three chapters in the Ottawa area: Laurentian, Lorraine and Walter Baker. There are 2,388 members nationwide. The story of the chapter began at Rideau Hall in 1906, when Lady Sybil Grey, daughter of the then Governor General, invited a group of Ottawa ladies to gather and to discuss applying for an IODE charter and thus to become part of a national charitable organization. The 23-year-old Lady Sybil was the first Regent (President) among a group of 15 charter members. Laurentian is the oldest chapter in Ottawa and the 103rd in Canada. The chapter, through a series of annual fund-raising initiatives, now contributes on average $30,000 annually to local charitable work. Contribution go to support education - including for example, the Marion Ruddick Violin Award at the Kiwanis Music Festival. In the past three decades alone, IODE Laurentian Chapter gave over half a million dollars in support to individuals and institutions. In that period, it has provided wheelchairs for the disabled, enabled underprivileged children to achieve their potential, provided food, toiletries and clothing for men and women in Ottawa shelters and supported an Aboriginal school. When invited welcomes new Canadians by providing refreshments at Citizenship Courts. The timeline below gives only some of the highlights.

History Timeline

1906 Laurentian Chapter was formed under charter to IODE Canada (established 1900).

1910 $17,000 was raised to build and furnish the Lady Grey Hospital (later the Royal Ottawa Sanatorium and, in 1965, the Royal Ottawa Hospital).

1914-18 During the First World War, raised $5 million and supported troops with packages of warm clothing, blankets and tobacco. Ran a Soldiers' Club. Donated $2,700 for beds in the Duchess of Connaught Hospital in England and $5,700 to the Prisoner of War Fund.

1918 Initiated the Duchess of Connaught Scholarship (initially at the Royal Military College, later at Carleton University), initially for the children of servicemen who had died and continuing today to support qualified students. With four chapters in Ottawa, the Ottawa Municipal Chapter was formed to coordinate IODE activities in the community.

1918 Set up a Veterans' Loan Fund using $2,000 from a recycling program for waste paper. Equipped a ward in the Sanford Fleming Convalescent Home and undertook hospital visiting.

1928 Furnished a new "Preventorium" for children with tuberculosis.

1929-39 Provided relief to unemployed Canadians during the Great Depression, paying rent and insurance premiums, providing fuel, clothing, furniture, food and seeds for the planting of gardens.

1938 Donated wrought-iron gates for the entrance to the Royal Ottawa Sanitorium as Ottawa's only memorial of the Coronation of King George VI.

1939-45 During the Second World War, raised $6 million, supported the evacuation of children from Britain and their maintenance in Canada and sent food parcels to help the British, as well as packages to servicemen. Ran the United Services Club in Ottawa.

1943 As well as knitting for sailors in the Royal Canadian Navy, adopted HMCS Caraquet, a ship that later engaged in D-Day, and supported it with gifts and comforts.

1945 Contributed to the national Lucy Morrison Memorial Scholarship to help fund the education of children of deceased service personnel or disabled veterans and also to the National Chapter World War Memorial Fund, both of which continue to this day.

1945-54 Sent food packages to Britain to help adopted families and to relieve shortages while rationing continued. Also contributed to the Sorabji Fund for development in India and to the Grenfell Mission in Newfoundland.

1953 Joined other Municipal chapters to furnish a room in an addition to the Royal Ottawa Sanitorium.

1955 For $20,000, purchased a double house on Mackay Street, one part to serve as headquarters for the Ottawa chapters of IODE, the other to provide rental income. The mortgage was retired in 1968.

1961 Inaugurated the House and Garden Tour in Ottawa as a means to raise funds. Established the Mary C. Grant Bursary at Carleton University to support financially challenged students. Mary Grant had been a charter member of the chapter in 1906.

1966 Took responsibility for welcoming new citizens with refreshments provided after Citizenship Courts, a task that continues to this day.

1988 Faced with increasing costs and a maintenance backlog, sold Laurentian House, which was razed and replaced by five townhouses. Invested the profits to support future projects.

1998 Through its Education Committee, formed an ongoing supportive alliance with Banff House, a community support agency working out of social housing in Ottawa.

1998 Adopted Grade 5/6 of Titotay School (now Lawrence Wesley Education Centre) in the Aboriginal community of Cat Lake, Ontario, and began to send books, magazine subscriptions, recreational equipment and gifts of warm clothing on a regular basis.

2006 Celebrated its centennial with a donation of $17,000 - to match the original grant of 1910 - to furnish a recreation/meeting room in the Youth Ward of the Royal Ottawa Hospital.

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